Publishes its Sustainability Benchmarking Criteria to Advance Sustainable Supply Chains

PARIS, 30th October 2019 – The Consumer Goods Forum’s Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) has today published its first set of benchmark criteria to support the development of responsible supply chains around the world.

The SSCI was created by The Consumer Goods Forum following a request from the CGF’s CEO-led Board of Directors in June 2017.

Vineet Khanna, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Supply Chain at Nestlé, said: “We are very pleased to announce the official launch of the SSCI’s benchmark criteria. This initiative brings long-term business value to the industry as it reduces duplication, which drives greater efficiency and transparency for us and our suppliers. I am confident that the SSCI will deliver on its promise to shape the industry and supply chains for years to come”.

The SSCI Benchmark

Designed with the input and support of key stakeholders, the SSCI benchmark sets industry expectations and provides clear guidance on which third-party auditing and certification programmes cover sustainability requirements and apply the appropriate verification practices. 

Social compliance programmes undergo benchmarking according to the SSCI methodology and provide evidence that all essential social and scheme management benchmark criteria are met. SSCI  recognition allows successful programmes to be acknowledged by the industry as ready and able to meet their expectations. 

The SSCI benchmark is aligned with the methodology of the CGF’s Global Food Safety Initiative to ensure a consistent approach across the organisation.

The methodology includes a Self-Assessment, followed by an independent expert review. The SSCI benchmark criteria are made up of two main parts:

  • Social Criteria: Topics typically found in codes of conduct (e.g. child labour, forced labour, working hours, discrimination, etc.)
  • Scheme Management Criteria: Ensure the robust performance of programmes and the effective implementation of the procedures and policies claimed by the programme (eg standard-setting mechanism, independent oversight of audit firms and auditor competence requirements, etc.)

The SSCI benchmark focuses initially on the processing and manufacturing scope. Additional scopes that are under development include primary production/agriculture and at-sea operations for the seafood sector.

As part of the SSCI’s commitment to providing transparency during the creation process, the team invited all interested stakeholders to participate in a public consultation to provide input on the benchmark in September 2018. The feedback gathered during two workshops held in New York and Geneva was then reviewed and integrated into the criteria where appropriate.

Hugo Byrnes, VP Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize said: “The launch of the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative marks a new era for companies who use valuable time and resources selecting from the numerous social compliance standards that currently exist. SSCI provides companies with much needed transparency on which voluntary standards are credible and robust, so that companies can simply ask their suppliers ‘Do you have an SSCI-recognised audit?’ This is a game changer!”  

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About the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative

The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) builds trust in sustainability standards worldwide by benchmarking third-party auditing and certification programs and recognising schemes that meet industry expectations. By providing an open-source list of recognised programs, the SSCI delivers clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply relevant verification practices. The SSCI improves transparency in the market, facilitates decision-making on schemes at both buyer and supplier level and sets the responsible sourcing expectations for the industry. The Initiative initially focuses on social compliance with the potential to expand the scope to environmental compliance. The SSCI is facilitated by The Consumer Goods Forum. For more information, visit

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit:


For further information, please contact:

Thomas van Haaren
Senior Manager, SSCI
The Consumer Goods Forum

Louise Chester
Communications Officer
The Consumer Goods Forum